Parker will not resign, calls for 'referendum' in June

From The embattled chairman of the state Democratic Party says he will not resign but has called a referendum on his role.

"I have met with our Executive Council via teleconference and am gratified by their strong support for my continued Chairmanship,"

David Parker said.

"Parker came under fire late last week when sexual harassment allegations against former party executive director Jay Parmley surfaced. Parker arranged for a settlement with the victim in the matter and allowed Parmley to continue working at the party..."


Vice Chair Wilkins disagrees with Chair Parker (

Parker proposed a referendum on his leadership at a party meeting scheduled for June 17th.

That didn't sit well with several key Democrats, including Governor Bev Perdue, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, and Parker's second-in-command, NCDP First Vice Chair Gwen Wilkins.

Wilkins was on the call Parker referenced. She called WRAL tonight to offer the following statement.

"Chairman Parker stated in his email that he had met with the Executive Council via teleconference, and that he was gratified by their strong support for his continued chairmanship," Wilkins said.

"I was elected because dedicated and loyal Democrats had faith that I would not sit back and be quiet when the time came to speak up. Martin Luther King Jr. said that a person should not be judged by where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but a man should be judged by where he stands in times of conflict and controversy."

"With that said, let me be clear: that all–and I stress ALL–those on the [state Democrats'] Executive Council have NOT indicated their support of Chairman Parker," Wilkins said. "It is my opinion that the statement made by him is misleading to the Democrats that elected him to office and to our voters..."

In a separate story on a copy of the letter outlining the alleged harassment at Democratic Party headquarters is revealed. Also, WRAL has obtained a copy of the complaint to the EEOC from the staffer who was fired after complaining to both Sallie Leslie and Jay Parmley about Parmley's unwanted advances.

Martha Brock

But not all member of the SEC...

Are hanging Parker out to dry. The majority of delegates to the Wake Democratic Party Convention supported Parker and weren't willing to call for his resignation per the harshly worded resolution submitted by Perry Woods.

And I think that many Democratic activists are smelling a smear job with the timing of all this right around the County Conventions, the start of Early Voting, etc.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

How would it have come out 6 months ago?

Ortega didn't get fired till November 21.

There are many things going on at NCDP that have bothered me a lot more than how Ortega alleges he was treated.

Remember the "Aunt Jemima" image that was put up on the screen at the April 30, 2011 SEC meeting in Raleigh? That bothered me more.

Remember how the NCDP hired 5 Regional Field Directors to supposedly help out the whole state, but then took 3 of them off duty working for all of us to help elect one candidate as Mayor of Charlotte? That bothered me more.

Remember when the Obama campaign started to dismantle the whole 50 state strategy starting in June 2008? We've not had any emphasis on party-building or precinct organization since then. That bothers me a whole lot more.

NCDP hired a whole bunch of new people during the summer of 2009. They hired based not so much on experience but on who people worked for during the 2008 election. They damn sure didn't check references and resumes all that carefully - and I even heard that one of the Regional Field Directors was a Republican when he worked for OFA in NC - he switched party affiliation right before the election. I'd sincerely hope that we hire people based experience and performance in more than ONE single election. All that bothers me more.

What Ortega alleges to have had happen to him is a tragedy if it did indeed happen. But what's happened to the NC Democratic Party since June 2008, and especially in the 2010 election to the Party and the citizens is even worse.

For all those paid political operatives screaming for Parker's head - you claim that he didn't seek the advice of other Chairs, or other high-ranking Dems. How then do you explain the involvement of former NCDP Executive Director Scott Falmlen - who even Ortega contacted?

Since Oretga himself sought a confidentiality agreement in his letter dated December 8, 2011, I can't see why all of you think this is Parker trying to keep things quiet all on his own.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

He talked to Falmlen on Oct. 3rd,

which is more than six months ago. And if the rest of Ortega's claims are to be believed, a month before that Parmley (while driving) reached back and caressed his leg several times during a car trip. Which means (unless my detective skills are slipping) there was another person in the car, riding in the front seat beside Parmley, who had to have witnessed said caresses. Unless he (or she) was asleep, which I guess is possible.

And just for the record, Chris, if we ever want to get rid of sexual harassment in the workplace, we can start by not downplaying it by listing things that bother us more.

Not saying that sexual harassment isn't bad... matter where it occurs.

But I am saying that there are sometimes things that are worse. We must get rid of all these things. But I don't want to waste time and energy worrying so damned much about alleged incidents of sexual harassment when we all know about the other less than transparent things that go on in our Party.

Adraidn alleges that Jay rubbed his thigh, and showed him pics of a nearly naked guy. If these things were true, and if it was true that he got terminated for making complaints - that's tragic. But there are worse things for our Party and North Carolina residents. The Obama Campaign and Organizing for America which succeeded it killed the 50-state strategy starting in July 2008 (and also killed the 100 county strategy in NC). And then they provided the funds to hire a bunch of people to work for the Party who only had experience working for or had other connections with the Obama Campaign. That inexperience combined with the forced-implementation of OFA methods were a major factor in our historic ass-kicking in the 2010 election. Not just here in NC, but nationwide. And in a redistricting year.

So when I look at what happened from June 2008 on, I see Party leaders who are either a bunch of incompetent fools, or rubber-stamps who are just doing what they are told to keep the money flowing. And now I see this whole thing being pushed forward by people who have a vested interest in keeping the money flowing into their campaigns or pockets. They are using the tragedy of alleged sexual harassment as the pretext for pushing this thing as far as they can. And if they get some blow-dried hero to run for NCDP Chair, they'll keep the money flowing whether they win or not. Because they will have turned-off the activist base of the Party, who will no longer be charmed by rock-star candidates who are put up on pedestals by the "powers that be".

There's a reason why there are so few precincts organized in Wake County, and we we don't know exactly how many there are across the state. The "powers that be" don't care about organized precincts. In fact, the more precincts there are, the more activists they have to pretend to listen to and need to stroke.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

The Scandal Within

Agents of Bill Faison manufactured a crisis within the North Carolina Democratic Party by concocting a political conspiracy theory out of a personnel matter that involved a claim of sexual harassment against Executive Director Jay Parmley that appeared to involve a cover-up, hush-money and played heavily on homophobia.

Sally Leslie, the former beloved employee of the NCDP was duped by the plotters along with a majority of the Council of State, the governor and two of Faison's gubernatorial opponents.

Rumors were planted by political consultants with axes to grind that led to a story quoting Sally Leslie about the ethical shortcomings of the senior staff led by Chairman David Parker.

Faison's chief operative, Jeanne Milliken Bonds, unleashed two email blasts designed to undermine Parker and to populate the scandal via the press and media.

For the first 72-hours the ploy worked amazingly well, duping Faison's two major opponents in the governor's race as well as many members of the public.

However, the majority of the Executive Council and leading grassroots activists of the NCDP saw through the dubious scheme and rallied to support David Parker.

Under immense pressure to resign immediately, Parker issued a letter demolishing the cover-up story and setting up a special meeting of the SEC in June.

In mid-June, the SEC will meet to review the matter and vote on the chair.

Some predict that Bill Faison will challenge Parker to a rematch.

If that happens, it will be a showdown to remember.

Bonkers comment from Blue Heron

The above comment strikes me as awful. "Concocting a political conspiracy theory out of a personnel matter" is an atrociously wrong-headed way to frame allegations of sexual harassment, more likely to come from a "family values" Republican than a thoughtful Democrat who takes sexual harassment seriously. I'm appalled at the implication that these allegations should have been kept quiet, and even more appalled at the implication that exposing them is something good Democrats should not do.

Why do you propose to ridicule homosexuals?

Your insinuation that "good Democrats" should have exposed Ortega and Parmley to public ridicule is medieval. It is not ethical to publicize personnel matters in the court of public opinion. Now that the minute details of the case have been leaked, it is clear that there was no sexual contact and that public shock is driven by homophobia. Everybody deserves to have private details of their professional lives kept private. Your prescription for scandalizing gays and lesbians is monstrous.

Why do you mischaracterize Todd's comment?

I'm among those who are angry that this has happened. That the sexual harassment was homosexual has nothing whatsoever to do with it. Are you, in turn, suggesting that if the harassment were heterosexual no one would mind? What does that say about your perspective of sexual harassment? And what on earth does the lack of "sexual contact" have to do with the problem here?

I do agree with you to the extent that the idea that a personnel matter should have been immediately aired is off base. I think the victim is entitled to make that decision, which he did. But it is extremely disturbing to me that Parker would say that the behavior by Parmley would not constitute an offense for which he should be removed. There was a settlement, not a trial, so the behavior is alleged. But the behavior was outrageous, no less because the victim was a man than if the victim were a woman.

I think your remarks suggest a failure to appreciate exactly what the experience of being sexually harassed does to a person. I'm reminded of the idiotic jokes that men (not saying women don't make 'em, but all the ones I overheard were from men) about how much fun it would be to be sexually harassed. Clearly there's a large segment of our population that still just doesn't "get" it. Parker would seem to be one of them.

Homophobia is rampant in NC

Just look at Amendment One. Nobody has heard Parmley's side of the case, so it is wrong to prejudge the facts that you know you don't know. The most important fact is that a formal legal procedure was followed. And, all of this is moot anyway. Parker is holding a press conference sometime soon. Nobody should jump to any conclusions until Parker has spoken - apparently sometime this pm.

Reason isn't your strong suit, is it?

This has nothing to do with homophobia. The fact that homophobia is a problem we are still dealing with has nothing to do with whether sexual harassment occurred. Again, you just don't seem to understand that sexual harassment is a problem regardless of the gender of the persons involved in the allegations. You are so intent upon playing your own -- frankly stupid -- political game of taking opportunistic potshots that you don't realize how much you undermine the efforts of those who are genuinely concerned with homophobia. You're like the people who are so anxious to play the race card that they don't realize how much they degrade the cause by making false accusations.

The behavior was "alleged"

That's the important factor. Just alleging that something occurs means nothing if you can't prove it. And I believe that a detailed investigation occurred - including talking to the OTHER people in the car. There were 4 people in the car - Parmley, Ortega, and two others. Parmley was driving (left front) and Ortega was in the back (right rear). There were two other people in the car. There was no evidence supporting Ortega's claims made to the EEOC - which were different than the claims he made in his December 2011 "demand" letter.

There are reasons why we know what constitutes sexual harassment. They involve jury trials and appeals to higher courts to determine if a jury properly decided the facts of the case, or interpreted the Law. Using those cases, one can take a look at the evidence before them - what Adraidn alleged, Jay's side of the story, and any witness statements. I believe that's why David said the incidents didn't warrant firing Jay. Remember the whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing here in America?

But remember that David stated that he didn't want to settle - he was content to let Adraidn file his complaint to the State Executive Council. But Lawyer Wallace - who also worked for Governor Perdue's campaign (who Adraidn really worked for) - counseled a settlement. Yes David is a lawyer, but he wasn't trying to serve as both lawyer and client. He followed his lawyer's advice - which any lawyer will tell you is a good idea.

People tell me that David should go because he didn't follow the Plan of Organization which claim that the Chair has no power to offer or negotiate a settlement. That may be the least offensive violation of the NCDP POO out there. And for those people who claim to be sticklers for the POO - remember the POO has a procedure to follow for removing officers for alleged violations of the POO. And nowhere does it state that any officer has to resign just because someone alleges they violated the POO. There is supposed to be due process - something that no on wants to give to David Parker or to Jay Parmley.

What happens when the POO requires or suggests a course of action that is in conflict with another part of the POO - or even with state or federal employment law? Let's say that the State Executive Council did hear the matter, and decide to give David the authority to make a confidential settlement. What happened if a member of the Council in the minority (who voted against such a deal) decided to go public with it because they didn't like it. Does that make the whole State Party liable for damages - or just that one member?

And I would contend there are many more serious violations of the NCDP POO what David Parker is alleged to have done in violation of the POO. Where would you put the offense the Mecklenburg County Democratic County committed in terms of precinct organization which required the de-certification of all precincts and the NCDP to rush down there to organize all those precincts all over again? That's important because you can't elect replacements for offices if you aren't properly certified. And officers who claim that David should follow the rules should be just as fussy about every other officer following the rules.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Why do you propose a ridiculous strawman?

There is nothing in the previous comment to support this crudely baited response.

Sexual harassment is broadly defined. The threshold for a valid complaint is low. The threshold for vindication, however, is very high. Like other labor issues there's a lot of "he said, she said", where power tilts towards the employer.

A lot of people knew various parts of this story for a long time. The first 72 hours was back in November. The Faison campaign can barely organize a blog post, let alone a conspiracy of the complexity you describe.

The NC media who knew about this were checking their facts when the right wing ran with the first whiff of blood screaming "sex" at every available opportunity. At first it was characterized as the Democratic Party's "war on women", until it became obvious that it was a same sex conflict.

Regardless of the underlying cause, the notion that any such conflict could be buried and forgotten about was fatally flawed. David Parker is a smart man who could have artfully and openly addressed it without salacity at any time in the last several months. The Democratic Party is not just a small business. It represents the hopes and dreams of a great many people. Its actions should be inspired and ahead of the curve, not behind it.

You know one of the worst parts of this? The fact that Ortega's salary was only $20,000.

Ortega certainly was underpaid

And for $20,000 per year, he had every right to file a complaint and ask for a settlement. If the size of the settlement is made known it will be instructive. If it went over $20,000 it would look suspicious. If it is over $50,000, it would be a shock. Faison's hand is clearly stirring the pot in the guise of Jeanne Milliken Bonds of serial email blasts aimed at Parker and Watt Jones, whose complaint to Walton Robinson about inadequate coverage of Faison is clear from the email trail.

It was only a part-time job.

And he had many jobs with the Party since he first got hired. That happens with a lot of political workers. What they do and who they work for changes with the source of their funding.

If you really want to reform the Party - follow the money. And if you really want to know what motivated all those consultants to raise this issue - follow their money. As long as the money flows - they get paid, win or lose. They attack anything that interferes with the "money train".

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Any truth to the rumor.....

.....that Faison is considering dropping his gubernatorial bid and going for Party Chairman again? Then who would get his supporters, all 4% of them??

Wow, this is as delusional as

Wow, this is as delusional as David Parker. I will bet a month's salary that Faison will not become Chair.

Agents of Faison? Horsehockey

I would use another word to describe it, but I'm trying to behave myself.

Faison doesn't have any danged agents working to undermine the party, for crying out loud. Nor was Sally Leslie "duped." This is one of the most ridiculous allegations I've seen in this forum -- and that's saying something.

Your charge that this is playing on homophobia is the most absurd of all, but speaks volumes about your failure to understand what sexual harassment does to a victim and why it is wrong.

oh good grief

Brunette - Blue Heron is delusional. I sent out no email blasts "unleashing" anything but disapproval with Republicans. This is about the most hilarious thing I have seen on here. The circus tent we are all in just gets weirder and weirder. If the lies on here were jobs, all of NC would be super-employed.

WRAL to stream Parker's Press Conference at 1:00 pm

Just In: David Parker, chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party, will hold a 1 p.m. news conference regarding the sexual harassment scandal that forced the party director to resign and has state officials calling on Parker to do likewise. Watch the news conference live at

Martha Brock

Very possibly the most surreal press conference ever

You can view the archived recording of the press conference at

Parker will not resign nor run when an election is held. He will not call Parmley's accuser a liar, but downplays all accusations not included in the EEOC compliant. Says the "salacious" parts of letter were not made under oath.

He stands by his decisions and his vetting of Parmley upon hiring him.

Parker blames the media for overplaying the news about the accusations. Says he got good legal advice that was not good political advice.

My impression? He sounded like a defense attorney, not a Party Chair.

Martha Brock

Follow The MO! Huh?

I dont't know who paid who or where the MO came from, But I am innocent in this Art Pope reverse porn scam.* Paraphasing the State Party Chairman

Of course he does not know where the MO came from or who paid it. However, the good news is that it was paid by the Lizard Lick Bonding and Insurance Company which the State Party has for legal sexual abuse suits in the marketplace or work place of the Herman Cain secret settlements program which will never show up on the Corporate Books or the democrat party as items paid for legal defense services or settlements.. Whatever or whoever who carry the Party liability insurance is the Black Bag operative in this very nasty "Boys gone wild at party HQ adventure"